Informe Final: Curso Andino en Clima y Salud

['Gilma'], Gilma; Allyza

The biggest challenges to public health systems today include urbanization, an aging population, and climate variability/climate change. According the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climate variables (temperature, precipitation, humidity, and cloud cover) play a fundamental role in exacerbating a variety of health-related hazards. The increasing intensity and duration of heat waves, for example, directly increases mortality and morbidity (mainly cardiovascular). The indirect effects of climate change and varibilaity on health include: the spread of diseases such as malaria, salmonellosis, cholera, and leishmaniasis; malnutrition resulting from impacts on agriculture and fishing; a potentially limited water supply due to anticipated sealevel rise and the subsequent salinization of groundwater; and problems associated with the destruction of the ozone layer (e.g. risk of skin cancer and immunosuppression) and air pollution (e.g. allergic disorders).The full extent of the effects of climate variability and climate change are still unknown and require further study. It is therefore important to support health authorities in the estimating impacts, conducting vulnerability assessments, and making decisions that foster adaptation. One way to do this is to integrate the work of other sectors into national adaptation strategies for climate variability, climate change, and publich health. Similarly, the impacts of climate in public health can be introduced to decision makers in other sectors. Following the Río+20 conference, the document “The Future We Want” reaffirmed the assertion that “climate change is one of the greatest problems in our age” and called attention to adaptation as an urgent global priority. The Pan-American Health Organizationʼs Strategy and Action Plan on Climate Change, which was approved by the Directive Body in 2011, indicates diverse strategy that the health sector should adopt in its efforts to promote climate change adaptation. These include: 1) public awareness and professional training, 2) research and support documentation, and 3) partnerships to promote multidisciplinary work. In its first point, the Plan specifically indicates the need to “promote and support the generation and diffusion of knowledge to facilitate activities based in data and evidence with the aim of reducing health risk associated with climate change”. Within these parameters, the Plan proposes the “support of research to gather evidence regarding the repercussions of climate change in the health sector, emphasizing its affects on socioeconomic and gender-based inequity in vulnerable groups”. A key component of climate variability and climate change adaptation is the formation of a new generation of leaders at the local and regional levels. These individuals must understand the role that climate plays in the spread of disease and begin to quantify the impact of climate change and/or variability on public health. This capacity, in place throughout different regions of the world, will contribute to strengthening and improving decisions made in the health sector, and will also reflect a reduction of the impacts of global environmental change. In support of this process, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) of Columbia University, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Ministry of Health of Ecuador collaborated with the Ministry of the Environment of Ecuador, the Central University of Ecuador, the International Centre for El Niño Research, the Latin American Development Bank, and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) to combine efforts and organize the First Andean Regional Training Course on the Use of Climate Information for Public Health in Quito, Ecuador from the 19-30 November, 2012. The curriculum for the course was based on materials developed at the International Research
Institute for Climate and Society. Over the past four years, these materials have been presented to participants from around in world who have come together to attend courses in New York, Colombia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and the Mercosur Region (Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile).


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International Research Institute for Climate and Society

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International Research Institute for Climate and Society
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March 13, 2024